Soldiers with the Ohio National Guard train at an exercise. (Staff Sgt. Chad Menegay / Army)
Training for tens of thousands of Army National Guard soldiers will be postponed or canceled this month as the reserve component hits a $101 million shortfall in the final weeks of this fiscal year.
The Army National Guard of Illinois, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Hawaii and Guam are notifying reservists that previously planned weekend drills for September are being called off or rescheduled for later in the month, said Air Force Capt John Fesler, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon.
The shortfall stems in part from unexpectedly high costs related to training personnel. Specifically, fewer mobilizations for overseas deployments this year resulted in more guardsman having time to attend career-specific technical training schools at home, Fesler said.
To fix the problem, the National Guard Bureau is submitting a reprogramming request to Congress, in effect asking for permission to move existing money from one account to another. If lawmakers grant the request, some training drills may be reinstated, Fesler said.
Until then, Guard officials have suspended unnecessary travel and are also asking some states to give back unneeded funds to help the Guard cover costs elsewhere until the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, Fesler said.
The budget crunch is not affecting the Air National Guard.